Ahsoka Is Everything Great About Star Wars
Star Wars on Disney+ has been something of a mixed bag. While Andor is arguably one of the best Star Wars stories, it’s also somewhat heavy and bleak, not quite a series to be entertained by but more to reflect and be ruminated upon. The Mandalorian is consistent and it’s hard to argue against the popularity of Grogu and papa Pedro Pascal’s Din Djarin. But the other shows have been less than stellar — both Obi-Wan and Boba Fett have probably had their shine dulled somewhat by middling stories and unnecessary retcons and backstories. In the case of Boba Fett, less really is more. Now comes Ahsoka, the live-action sequel to Star Wars Rebels, and it’s … perfect.
Ahsoka is everything a Star Wars fan could ask for and more. The Togruta Jedi’s first live-action appearance was from Season 2 of The Mandalorian, and the series actually picks up where Ahsoka’s (Rosario Dawson) cameo left off. Fans who have been fervently hoping for showrunner Dave Filoni to finish what he started with Rebels are rewarded, as favorites such as Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) return. Celebrated as heroes after the fall of the Empire, Hera is now a General and Sabine, well, is still Sabine.
Rebels ended in 2018 with its main protagonist Ezra Bridger sending himself and Grand Admiral Thrawn to the farthest reaches of the galaxy and an epilogue that sees Sabine promising to find Ezra and Ahsoka taking the Mandalorian graffiti artist as her Padawan. Ahsoka is essentially Rebels Season 5 and a gift from Disney to fans, but there’s still plenty for casual viewers to enjoy.
Filoni is a masterful storyteller but more importantly, he understands what makes Star Wars great. Rebels won awards and resonated with fans because Filoni included all the elements that entertain and enthrall, with equal parts myth, mystery, sword fights, and space battles. Ahsoka is more of the same, and it goes full throttle from the very start and never lets up. For starters, we get cool new bad guys in Baylan Skoll (the late Ray Stevenson) and his apprentice Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno), who appear to emulate the Sith’s rule of two but aren’t quite what they seem. There’s also the mysterious Marrok the Inquisitor, who wields a badass, double-bladed spinning lightsaber. They’re led by Nightsister Morgan Elsbeth, who first appeared in The Mandalorian, played by Fil-Am martial artist Diana Lee Inosanto, daughter of the legendary Dan Inosanto.
Familiar and fan-favorite heroes? Check. Interesting and cool bad guys? Check. Compelling plot and the promise of seeing beloved characters return and in live action? Check and check. All that plus adrenaline-pumping space battles, exotic locales, and a healthy dash of intrigue and you’ve got the perfect formula for a truly fun and entertaining series. Sure, it’s for fans of Rebels, who’ll appreciate all the easter eggs and callbacks to the animated series, but Ahsoka captures the magic and excitement of a Star Wars story in a way that other Disney+ series didn’t quite get.
Even if you didn’t watch Rebels, Ahsoka is easy to follow although you’ll probably be curious about who Ezra is or why he’s so important to Sabine. Or for that matter, who is Grand Admiral Thrawn and why does he look like a blue Elon Musk (it’s a bad publicity photo, but he really doesn’t)? Thrawn is a long story that might need a deep dive into old Star Wars books by Timothy Zahn, but it’s not a bad idea to check out Rebels, which is also on Disney+.
Ahsoka recaptures the wonder and bright spirit of Star Wars. Episode IV is titled A New Hope precisely because George Lucas wanted a story that was positive and hopeful. And while Ahsoka strays a little from the unambiguous Lights and Darks of Star Wars morality — Baylan Skoll is one of the more complex characters that explore the Jedi path’s gray areas — there’s still an overall hopeful tone that’s exciting and infectious. Ahsoka is the best Star Wars series since The Mandalorian (sorry, Andor, you’re incredible, but you’re too depressing). And if, like some fans, you’ve grown weary or disillusioned with the franchise, Ahsoka just might help to rekindle a love for lightsabers and blasters, droids and disasters in a galaxy far, far away.
Ahsoka is now streaming exclusively on Disney+.